DENVER (KDVR) — The Denver City Council voted unanimously to pass legislation protecting workers’ wages.
Measure 22-1614 allows the city to create a pathway for workers to get compensated faster by filing a complaint with Denver’s auditor. It also creates penalties for businesses.
Wage theft is when a worker is paid less than what they are owed. This includes minimum wage violations, meal break violations, forcing someone to work “off the clock,” or paying less than the agreed-upon wage.
Here in Colorado, council members said $728 million is being stolen from workers every year.
Jaime Torres, the Denver City Council president, said, “Workers are afraid to report it. So, providing a civil wage theft administrative process is one way to cut through that so it isn’t intimidating. You don’t have to get a lawyer to fight this or go through a court to fight this.”
Denver’s previous program helped workers get money that was missing from paychecks within 60 days, which the city said is the fastest turnaround in the nation.
However, this new bill will make that process even quicker and means Denver workers are also now the most protected in the entire country.
The new law will go into effect as soon as Mayor Michael Hancock signs it.